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Barrett Tillman Education. (2012) 'Enterprise America's Fightingest Ship and The Men Who Helped Win World War II.'

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Navy 16, Guadalcanal 9, Pearl Harbor 8, The Navy 8, Pacific 8, United States 7, Hiroshima 6, Us 6, John 6, Stafford 5, America 4, U.s. 4, Japan 4, China 3, Yorktown 3, Yamamoto 3, Nagasaki 3, Tom Hamilton 3, Thomas Dewey 2, Eugene Burns 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Barrett Tillman  Education.  (2012) 'Enterprise America's  
   Fightingest Ship and The Men Who Helped Win World War II.'  

    September 3, 2012
    8:45 - 9:45am EDT  

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foreign policy and biography thrown in. >> for more information on this and other summer reading lists, visit booktv.org. military historian barrett tillman presents a history of the american aircraft carrier, the uss enterprise, the most deck crated military ship -- decorated military ship in u.s. history next on booktv. commissioned in 1938, the enterprise was involved in 20 battles in world war ii-specific theater which included midway, guadalcanal and iwo jima. this is about an hour. >> good afternoon. i'm barbara peters, this is the poisoned pen in scottsdale, arizona, and it's our pleasure today to welcome back barrett tillman who is a local author in some senses because he lives in
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mesa, arizona. it's all one big happy family, but he's actually from oregon, and here's a few interesting things about barrett by way of introduction. he was first published at the age of 15, he's written 45 books or possibly more, but the figure that really blows me away is 600 magazine articles. wow. what do you do, write in your sleep? [laughter] >> well, i've been told that i laugh in my sleep, so writing would probably fit in as well. >> with awesome. in any case, his works of fiction include collaborations with best-selling authors harold coyle and steven coons, and he's won a whole string of awards, and probably the most relevant per se is in 2009 he won the u.s. naval institute general prize, but he's won awards from the air force for historical writing, the north american society for oceanographic
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history, that sounded cool. he grew up dreaming of being an aviator, but since i already mentioned eye sight -- [laughter] he was derailed from that, and he's done the next best thing, he says, writing all these wonderful books about airborne warfare and related topics. his latest subject, the legendary world war ii aircraft carrier uss enterprise, came -- was inspired, i guess, in part by a landmark book by retired author edward stafford who wrote the story of the uss enterprise in 1962. and barrett's article in the arizona republic, the interview that he did went on to say that surely the world needs a landmark book about the enterprise every 50 years. so my question is, why? what had happened between 1962 and now that would make it worthwhile to come back and do another landmark book about the enterprise? all yours.
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>> odd that you should mention it. this is the inspiration for by abiding interest in enterprise cd6. this dell paperback was published in 1964, and you can do the math if you're so inclined, but that was the summer after my freshman year in high school. and during a cross-country train journey, i read most of this book, and i was enthralled for two reasons. number one was the exceptional quality of the writing. ed stafford was just a wonderful author, and he's still with us. he's about 93 or 94, retired in florida. and as he aptly describes, enterprise was absolutely essential to the way the united states was able to pursue the
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pacific war in the year after pearl harbor. shortly after the end of the guadalcanal campaign which was 1943, a correspondent named eugene burns wrote a very good contemporary book called "then there was one." and that title refer today the fact that at the height of the guadalcanal campaign, which was the most closely-fought air/sea/land campaign in the war, only enterprise remained afloat of our six carriers that had combat in the pacific in 1942. the only other survivor was uss saratoga which sustained heavy battle damage on two occasions and, therefore, missed almost the entirety of that year. so considering that ed stafford wrote a 200,000-word or book about the enterprise, what is it
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that here 50 years later warrants another one? and i think there's a couple of reasons. number one, stafford's book is superb on the aviation aspects of the various unions, the squadrons that rotated enterprise during the entire war. but he's told me in a couple of e-mails that he wished he had been able to write a longer book -- and it took him five years to write this one -- that would include more of the ship's company, what the navy calls white hats, the sailors and between them and the commissioned officers, the chief petty officers who really made the ship work. and consequently, i wanted to devote a good portion of my book to the enlisted and noncommissioned people who were so instrumental in enterprise's success. the other aspect is advancing
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scholarship. apart from the fact that my book includes the design and construction of enterprise, we also are in a situation where in 1962 relatively little information was available from the japanese side. and that's certainly changed. i'm going to say going back a good 15 to 20 years the japanese defense ministry has published a massive compilation of wartime reports from their army, navy and air force not all of whom, in fact, only a small part of which have been translated yet. but over those recent decades, so much more information has come about. for instance, in ed stafford's book you'll read in one of the last chapters it's called
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tomizai. that was thought to be the name of the kamikaze pilot who dived into the enterprise's forward elevator on may 14, 1945, and inflicted such damage that the ship was knocked out of combat for the rest of the war. well, we now know based on research here and in japan that, actually, his name was shinsuki. and one of the things that most intrigues me about writing history is that you never know what's coming at you from around the corner, or in this case, in the mail. a little over a year ago, maybe a year and a half ago i opened an envelope in the mail with handwriting i did not recognize, and inside was another envelope, and it said thought you might like to have this.
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i opened it up, and there was another piece of paper that said from the pocket of tomizai, and it was a paper note in almost pristine condition. it had been folded in half, but whoever had acquired it had, fortunately, kept it fully extended without additional creases and had kept it in the dark for all those years. and as a result of that specific instance, i resolved to find out more about lieutenant j.g. shin shinsu kick. and thanks to a colleague in japan who was a mid shipman at the japanese naval academy in
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1945, i am now in touch with the deceased kamikaze pilot's brother in japan, and his family is so proud to know that the enterprise association recognizes the valor that that young man, a 32-year-old -- 22-year-old zero pilot, demonstrated as a dedicated enemy of uss enterprise. so you have former enemies who now have come together and, in fact, enterprise members, crew members who had picked up souvenirs, mainly pieces of the airplane and kept them, now have returned some of those artifacts to the family in japan. so it adds a whole new dimension. additionally, i enjoy some advantages that commander stafford did not because there's been a considerable amount of secondary material published
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since 1962. some of my colleagues such as john lundstrom who wrote a wonderful two-volume study of naval air combat in the pacific after pearl harbor, richard frank, the preeminent historian of the guadalcanal campaign, john -- [inaudible] and tony tully who did a landmark book called shattered sword giving brand new perspective on the battle of midway. all of those contain additional material that was not readily available. in fact, in some cases did not exist in the early 1960s. so that's sort of a long way around the block to say that the continuing historiography of enterprise is almost unending. and one of the things i have most enjoyed in researching and
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writing this book is getting to know more of the ship's company because i was already well acquainted with a good many of the aviators and air crewmen. but what most people don't realize about the enterprise is that a huge reason for the ship's institutional success -- and i wanted to write a book about an institution rather than just about a warship -- was the unprecedented amount of longevity within the ship's company. when enterprise was commissioned in 1938, the combined total of the ship's company and the air group was between 2,100 and 2,200 individuals. throughout the war it's estimated that approximately 15,000 served aboard the ship. and, obviously, there was considerable turnover because for one thing enterprise was a
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floating leadership factory, and people who gained experience either with the ship's operation or with the squadrons and air groups had invaluable information and knowledge that would be passed on when they purchased else -- transferred elsewhere. but to give you an idea of how much this book really is a last minute grab at history, when i started writing it in 2009, there were four known plank owners as the navy calls them, that is members of the original ship's company who placed enterprise into commission. and one of those was able to talk to me. and his name is carl marble, and he had some wonderful stories. you'll see in the book his role in the crossing the line ceremony, it's an ancient native custom about crossing the equator. he was cast as the royal princess for king neptune's
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royal court -- [laughter] because, and get this, he said, i was 19 years old, and i had the best legs of anybody aboard the ship. [laughter] some of the -- thank you. some of the other folks who gave me what they call a deck plate look at the operation included barney barnhill who, sadly, is no longer with us, but he was the 19-year-old bugler who sounded general quarters and sent enterprise to war on the morning of december 7, 1941. and when i talked to barney, he said, you know, i still have the bugle, and i wonder what i should do with it. well, i hope that it's gone to a suitable museum where it can be placed on display. another one of my excellent contacts was bill norberg back
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in north carolina. bill's a very impress e individual. -- impressive individual. he took to heart his advice from a succession of the ship's captains and went to college afterwards and became quite a scholar himself. and his perspective was absolutely unique. he was the yeoman which is the, basically, the captain's secretary for every commanding officer from 1941 through 1945, at least up until the end of the war. so he saw every captain come and go, and he knew their strengths, weaknesses, he knew who was receptive to advice, those who were not. and it occurred to me in looking at the turnover among the skippers throughout the ship's career, even though there were 15 commanding officers from 1938 to 1946 which included three, essentially, horse holders after the war when the ship was not really in commission anymore,
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none of the captains left a lasting mark on the ship. but two executive officers definitely did, and so many of the long-term petty officers and chief petty officers. the two executive officers were back to back, and in those days aircraft carriers had to be commanded by naval aviators and their execs, the number two man also had to be a rated aviator. a southerner named john crommelin came to the ship as the air operations officer during the guadalcanal campaign, and he was called uncle john by everybody, officers and men alike. he was one of these rare vims who did everything extreme -- rare individuals who did everything extremely well. he was a stellar scholar at nap police, a superb aviator, and
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his attitude was if you were an enterprise man, it didn't matter how many years had passed since the war. if you needed help, you would look up uncle john, and he would do everything possible to help you. his successor was tom hamilton, and some of you diehard football fans will recognize him as navy's winning football coach from before the war. and tom hamilton had been chosen by the head of the navy's bureau of aeronautics to oversee the implementation of the physical training regimen for budding naval aviators. so tom hamilton had a solid background before he ever came aboard the ship. i mentioned some of the chief petty officers, and can there's one in particular -- and there's one in particular who, sadly, i did not get to know. he passed away several years ago, but his name on the ship's
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roster is b.h.beams. to this day, nobody knows what b.h. stands for as far as his given name, but he was such a big, brawny character because it was said that b.h. stood for bulkhead because he was as big as a wall. [laughter] now, bulk head beams' primary job was master at arms and, basically, that's the chief of police. he's in charge of the security and the shore patrol. and on one occasion in 1944, he walked into the captain's office which is up in the island, the captain was gone, and there were some miscree i can'ts with a balloon -- miscreants with a blanket spread on the deck shooting craps. [laughter] and as you might imagine, craps and poker -- which they were also doing at the same time -- was not only illegal, but hell,
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no, it's illegal. so bulkhead was immediately faced with a dilemma. he could bust them, and some of them were his buddies. they had been on liberty together, and he really didn't want to haul them in. but on the other hand, they saw him, and e saw them, and everybody knew that everybody knew that everybody knew what was going on. so rather than turning around and walking away and hoping that the miscreepts would keep quiet about it, which he knew was extremely unlikely, he knelt down on one knee and said, what's the ante? and one of the gamblers said, four bits, chief. and he ponied up 50 cents and spent the rest of the day gambling. now, consider the inflation factor. bulk head beams won $17,000 1944 dollars, and if you check the
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inflation, that's something over $2,000 in current money. [laughter] he was such an ethical guy that he made sure he lost all $17,000 before he broke up the game and said you guys get outta here. so that gives you an impression of the quality of leadership and just the downright characters who populated the good ship enterprise. on another occasion, this would have been before bulkhead's gambling notoriety, the ship was in port southeast of the solomon islands. and can the japanese had long-range patrol planes that could drop bombs there from time to time. they seldom hit anything important, but still they could drop bombs. and on the one occasion, this would have been late '42, early '43, the ship's ordnance department was required to send
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some ordies as they're called ashore to dig up unexploded ordnance. and as you can imagine, a pretty high-risk job. and the ensign in charge of the detail wandered off somewhere, they really didn't know where, and it got to be a shank of a day. it was long, hot, hard work, and somebody said, you know, we have a case of grapefruit juice back here, and some of the torpedomen have some pure grain alcohol. what do can you say we mix us some cocktails? which they did. so they consumed the torpedo juice cocktails and went back to work digging up unexploded bombs. [laughter] well, about that time uncle john came by, and he saw what he saw. he said, you guys, good lord. [laughter] he says, boys, get in the jeep, i'll take you back to the ship, and you can finish digging up the unexploded ordnance
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tomorrow. well, it was quite a crew, probably six or eight guys and not a lot of room for them in the jeep. but the commander headed back up the rutted, pitted road, and he hit a bump, and it pitched one of the sailors out the back end. [laughter] and he alit on his back, knocked the wind out of him. and he was already three sheets to the wind, so they step on the brake, stop -- come to a screeching halt and go back and look at this guy whose nickname was zero. i intentionally did not ask his given name in order to spare some relatives some embarrassment. [laughter] crommelin looks over at him and says, how you doing, son? zero looks up at him and says, commander, uncle john, sir, would you, please, tell my folks in savannah that i died in the line of duty? [laughter] so uncle john says, hitch him
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back in, took him back to the ship. that was uncle john. then the commander w the three stripes on his shoulder, went looking for the missing ensign, and apparently it was loud and not pretty when he finally caught up with the missing officer. but i mentioned those wonderful stories to illustrate that as critical as enterprise was to america's war effort, at the deck plate level it was populated with some wonderful people, and can i'm not going to say we don't have characters like that in the navy today, but i'm willing to bet that the proportion is much smaller. in fact, shortly before i came out here today i got a phone call from one of my genuine hero, retired rear admiral dog ravage who, among other things, was a prewar what they called a black shoe operator who reported
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to enterprise in 1939 straight from annapolis. and then as far as we know he's the only one who came back later as an aviator. and jigdog was politically incorrect before politically incorrect existed. [laughter] and he said a few years ago he said, you know, with my attitude they wouldn't let me in the back door today. jigdog is one of those who i say is a plank owner in the astonished admirals' club because not only was he astonished that he made admiral, so was everybody who knew him. [laughter] and as he has said, i just proved that no system is perfect. um, i want to get a little bit historical with you in explaining just how critical enterprise was. at time of pearl harbor, she was one of three carriers permanently assigned to the pacific fleet, and the reason she was not destroyed in port of
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pearl harbor is that she was on the way back from delivering airplanes to wake island. and weather and problems with another ship in the task force delayed her return. she got into pearl that evening, the evening of the 8th, and that did not prevent several of her aircraft from being shot down in the japanese attack because the enterprise add launched some scalp bombers to search ahead of the ship inbound to hawaii and then later that evening a flight of six fighters, wildcats, was diverted to shore to pearl harbor. and as anybody who's been in the military knows, there's always somebody who doesn't get the word, and here's six airplanes who although their scheduled arrival had been known at some levels, the word did not get around to everyone. somebody opened fire, and long
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story short, five of the airplanes were shot down and three of those pilots were killed. one of them was an acquaintance of mine, jim daniels, who was an ensign at that time. and he's the one who was able to land safely that evening. and was taxiing up to the flight line when he says some blankty blank marine with a machine gun opened fire on him and business missed the back -- missed the back of his head by that far. jim always insisted that usmc stands for uncle sam's misguiding children. [laughter] but from there on enterprise and saratoga were the operative carriers in the pacific fleet until enterprise's older sister, yorktown -- a year older -- came around from the east coast. and for the next several months,
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the best that we could do with our battleships destroyed or sidelined and our submarines ineffective with malfunctioning torpedoes was launch hit and run carrier raid across the pacific. and that changed in june of 1942 when admiral nimitz's pacific fleet intelligence unit learned that the japanese were planning on seizing midway which is clear up northwest of hawaii -- of oahu as one of the last of the hawaiian chain. and in a two-day battle, enterprise air group sank three of the four japanese carriers committed to that battle, and the yorktown, which was lost in the battle, had accounted for the fourth one. so it was a huge strategic reversal for the japanese. but for the aviators and the sailors aboard enterprise it
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was, to quote my friend dick best who commanded the dive bombing squadron, he said midway was revenge, sweet revenge for pearl harbor. the italians say that it's a dish best served cold, and by june it was six months cold. and one of the recurring themes you'll see in talking to enterprise veterans is midway was payback for pearl harbor, and it was,, it was felt viscerally by all hands. following midway, the japanese were forced on the defensive, and it allowed the united states navy and marine corps and later the army to initiate the first strategic offensive that america undertook during the war, and that was the landings at guadalcanal in the solomon islands in august, just two months after midway. enterprise was there start to finish, it was involved in two
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battles, eastern solomons in august and the battle of santa cruz in october. and her youngest sister, the hornet -- which had launched jimmy doolittle's b25s back in april, was sunk at santa cruz -- enterprise, or, excuse me, saratoga was already on the west coast having damage repaired, so that gets us back to eugene burns' book, then there was one. because at the height of the guadalcanal campaign in november, december 1942, enterprise was our only fast carrier operational in the pacific, and she shuttled back and forth from henderson field and a couple other airfields on shore. and as you'll see in the book, i devote a short what if segment to the end of the guadalcanal
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campaign. what if enterprise had been badly damaged or even sunk either at pearl harbor or at midway or early in the guadalcanal campaign? at any one of those junctures, the inavailability of enterprise would have adversely effected the united states' entire strategic capabilities in the pacific theater of operations. so it was that close an operation. so enterprise subsequently went home to the west coast, was refitted in washington, came out again with air group ten, fought through the central pacific, the marianas, and finished the war with air group 90 aboard which was one of the first two full-time night-flying carrier air groups in u.s. navy history. that group was commanded by a dear friend of mine, the late bill martin, who his full name
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was william i. martin. well, his middle name was inman, i think it was his middle name, but everybody said with bill martin i. stood for instruments because he became the navy's leading advocate of flying carriers both offensively and defensively. consequently, one of the trends that i addressed in the book was how enterprise was involved in developing night flying early on, but also did some of the early carrier experimentation with radar. and that takes me back the one of the sailors, ark rne olson is the extremely cooperative and dedicated public affairs office of the enterprise association. and arne's an interesting fella, retired in the san diego area. he was a gifted violinist, and as i recall, he said that in circa january of 1932 he was slated for an audition with the
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walt disney symphony. and he was on cloud nine. well, next thing he knows, he's in the navy at radio school, and he said going in all he knew about radio was turning on fibber mcgee and molly. [laughter] but he made it through radio and then radar school which was a considerable accomplishment in those days. he said he was pretty proud of himself up to the point where shortly before the ship was to deploy at the end of 1944 all the radio and radar techs were assembled in a locker room with marine guards outside, and the head electronics officer said, gentlemen, congratulations, you possess invaluable skills. it's brand new technology, you worked hard to learn it, and it's important, it's critical to our success in the forthcoming
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operations. in fact, it's so important that under no circumstances are any of you to allow yourselves to be taken prisoner. [laughter] and he says, at that point he began to wonder the maybe he shouldn't have flunked a couple of the radar school tees. but that never -- tests. but that never became a dire circumstance. one other thing i'll address here and then i'll probably open it to questions. people have commented ever since 1958 when the navy sold the enterprise for scrap why in the world was that historic, irreplaceable ship not preserved? and not even admiral halsey who rode enterprise as his flagship in 1942 was able to preserve her. since then other carriers have been preserved. we have the midway in san diego,
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the yorktown's been long, long time preserved in charleston, there's the hornet, intrepid, lexington. all those have been preserved. and it's certainly true that a majority of the enterprise veterans would have liked to have seen their ship preserved, but there are a few such as alvin kernan who was an air crewman of avenger torpedo bombers and became a very well-regarded ivy league author and instructor has said that he did not want to see his beloved ship basically turned into an amusement park. and i quote him in the book. he gives a heartfelt statement that he would not like to see soda fountains and spilled drinks and ice cream droppings and screaming kids running around and really it's hard to
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argue with that attitude. but to me, taking the longer view when the current generation of world war ii sailors is gone, all that would be left really is the ship, and i think it's a terrible loss. i just wish that the navy had given that a second thought. but in the meantime, 1961 the navy commissioned a second uss enterprise aircraft carrier, the first nuclear-powered carrier of all time, and she's still in commission. she's due for another deployment this year, i believe, and finally will be decommissioned, i think, in 2013 or perhaps '14. and at that point the enterprise legacy will be lost because the navy since the late '60s, early '70s has taken to
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pandering to mere politicians, and a secretary of the navy once told me that -- and he's a naval traditionalist -- he said that it's easier to get two or three or six billion dollars for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named for a president or a politician than it is named for an historic warship. so that's simply the reality of the situation. but in the meantime, the books and some of you probably saw the history channel series battle 360 which was a pretty good series perpetuates the enterprise legend. and i'm so glad i started the book when i did because to give you a little example, in 2005 my history of the first battle of the philippine sea in which enterprise was involved was published, and at that time 25%
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of the contributors already were deceased. when my previous book, whirlwind -- which is about air operations over japan -- was published a little under two years ago, that figure was up to 40%. and now as of the end of last year as far as i know over half the contributors to the enterprise book are deceased. so it was none too soon, and i'm so gratified to see the mass turnout here. i'm grateful for, to each of you, and to barbara. as she said, i'm from mesa, but i've come to regard poisoned pen as my hometown bookstore, and i've always been well received here. barbara, do you have anything to add? >> i have something i wanted to talk about for just a minute. always has to be about me, right? i mean, we can't have an author here where i don't intrude. >> [inaudible] >> sure. sorry. my husband and i went to japan a
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few years ago. i was born in 1940, so i don't have any actual memories of world war ii and the war in the pacific, but i always assumed -- this is a whirl wind, not an enterprise kind of book question -- i always assumed that hiroshima was flattened and that nagasaki similarly was completely destroyed. i didn't know that, in fact, um, hiroshima is on the, um, the north side, it's on honshu, on the north side of the inland sea, and there was an original target very near it, the name of which i do not recall, a different story after hiroshima. >> cocur rah. >> was it coe cur rah? and on the days the bomber was to drop a bomb on kokurra since the japanese didn't surrender after hiroshima, they went to nagasaki. the geography there is
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completely different than hiroshima, so what amazed me was that most of nagasaki is still standing. people died because the radiation killed them, but unlikely roche ma, the bomb did not -- hiroshima, the bomb did not level nagasaki, so it is still, in fact, a city with many ancient relics and ruins and so forth. that's the kind of stuff that, you know, you don't -- unless you go there, you don't necessarily ever find out about, you know, the differences in language? >> okay. >> when you wrote whirlwind, what did can you find? >> i'm still amazed at this, the first one-volume account of air operations over japan including not just the u.s. navy, but the army and british royal navy. the thing that struck me, you know, americans have always said there was a second front in
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world war ii, and it was along the to toe mack in -- potomac in washington, d.c. with army versus army/air force. but in tokyo interservice rivalry was practically a full-contact sport. the imperial navy and the japanese army cordially detested each other, they spoke to each other as little as possible, and institutionally they were so far removed -- and as a pilot, this just makes my brain hurt -- the japanese army/air force was heavily influenced by the french dating from around about the period of world war i. well, in french aircraft of that era you pull the throttle back to accelerate. but the japanese navy was heavily influenced by the british royal navy which uses the common sense, the standard push to go throttle. so i couldn't help but wondering
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how interesting must it have been to be at a joint aviation conference when japanese army and navy pilots were hopping cockpits? it could have been real interesting. [laughter] >> very much so. do you want to answer questions? >> yes. anybody have questions? i'll be delighted to reply. yes, sir. >> what was the navigation that the pilots used early in the war before they had radar to, basically, guide themselves back to the ship? after the mission or even going out on the mission? >> yes, sir. um, naval aviators in that era up through the end of world war ii had what pilots called a by ya board, and it was -- bye board, and it would fit on a tray that would slide out from under the instrument panel, and it had a circular grid on it.
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and before launching from a carrier, you would plot your point of departure, and then use the circular grid to factor in the wind as it was briefed, which frequently was inaccurate, and then you would have to adjust your compass be headings accordingly, go out and fly the search leg or whatever it was, and then use that data on your plotting board to navigate back to the ship. and it required a very high standard of navigation. in those days the navy had electronic homing devices which most aircraft could receive, but frequently admirals, task group commanders were reluctant to turn them on because the enemy could monitor them as well. so a pilot -- no pilot who has not thrown out of sight of land -- flown out of sight of
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land can fully appreciate what that's like in a single airplane. >> so they basically had compass, killed they have gyros? >> yes. you would set that to the launch heading of the ship and constantly cross-check that against the wet compass. >> not even ndbs in those days? >> no. yes, sir. >> this electronic device you talked about was called a zb. >> yes, sir. they had a code set up every day so if you didn't get today's code when you went out, when you got the letter z, it might not go back to the ship, it might go someplace else. every day before they flew, they had to go get the latest code so that they could set it up in their machine, they listened to it like on the radio morse code, maybe the letter b. we knew the letter b was out of
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070 heading from the ship. >> request yeah. >> and you get that, and you knew that you were going to fly back on that heading, get you right back to the ship. >> with that's correct. it was -- >> just had to listen to that while we were out there. >> yes, sir. with the yezb homer, and it worked. it was a low frequency device. yes, sir. >> prior to the war, the navy had got ahold of the japanese codes and had translated them. how long were those codes available during the war? >> the question regards the u.s. military's access to jalapeno these codes before the war -- japanese codes before the war. as far as i know, we did not break any of the japanese military codes, maybe a diplomatic code prior to pearl harbor. but in early '42 the pacific fleet, what was called the radio
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intelligence unit had broken into the japanese operational codes and were able to predict with some accuracy what japanese forces were likely to appear at a given time and place, and that was a huge factor in the victory at midway. and our knowledge of cryptal sis and code breaking only increased from that point on to the point where, for instance, in many 1945 we knew that the japanese government was not interested in the vendorring because -- surrendering because they were in touch with moscow and exchanging diplomatic traffic where the japanese war cabinet wanted to have moscow intervene. and that meant that barring something unforeseen, there
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would be an invasion of japan. and as you just heard, the atomic bombs were what convinced the emperor to intervene and end the war. >> i have a question. >> yeah. >> going way back in history, do you think that the japanese war really gave japan a sense of conferred that they could take the -- confidence that they could take the pacific and do what they did in. >> yeah, absolutely it did. ..
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ever more ambitious and aggressive and that led to basically a state of permanent war of the asian mainland with china, burma, vietnam and 1941 when the expanded to the dutch east indies for its petroleum and the philippines yes, sir? >> do you feel the pertinent information that was classified after the second world war has been released now? >> as far as i know, all of the operational material has long since been declassified. it's possible and probable that some of the material remains classified not because of the content of it but because of the methods used. although the geniuses who were
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able to decipher complex diplomatic codes by hand felt they were cooking with gas something about the computers. now there are banks and banks of powerful electronic computers that can crack most codes in a matter of days if not hours. i can understand why they are on the side of caution yes, sir? >> prior to the war he was very much against going to war in the united states. i'm sure the exact pilot of the navy the most influential man in the navy. the army was growing rim bid in china and they were militarist in their business. the fact he actually went to war
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and tried to assassinate him prior to the war you think his initial reluctance had anything to flee with his performance as the lead admiral in the navy during the war during his tenure as commander of the japanese navy? >> no, i really don't. yamamoto was an extreme individual. he had two tours of duty in the united states and dictum that capacities. he saw america's enormous industrial capacity and there's the famous quote he did make in contrast to the sleeping general quotation which he probably never uttered as good as this. he predicted the surprise of that and the initial japanese technological and strategic advantages he said something to
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the effect for six months after which i can guarantee nothing and of course it was exactly six months after pearl harbor. yamamoto was a dedicated war professionally and he knew that japan had no chance of winning the war that his orders were to go to the war and he saluted smartly and carried on. yes, sir? >> it is my understanding that the japanese strategy that originated in the mid-30s in relation to the pacific war in which they had anticipated there would be a war between the united states and japan at sometime both countries practice gains against each other on that was that because of the huge distances in the pacific japan felt they could if yamamoto
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followed the strategy that if you didn't get the united states back on its heels and draw the line across the pacific that no country could extend their supply lines further than that and to adequately supply and replenish the naval forces which the united states was able to do it and bring the war to japan. that was their whole strategy, my understanding was, to get to that point in the pacific to the draw and then have a negotiated peace. >> i think essentially that is a fair statement. the united states navy began planning for the war probably shortly after the election war. the japanese anticipated a
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single decisive engagement in the central pacific at which point for the united states would be forced either to back off and try to rebuild, or more likely to reach a settlement. and a diplomatic settlement is what japan looked for and who 1941. you can read books and books about the japanese military psychology, and one of the things that struck me in researching looking at the interviews conducted with officials after the war, for instance in the strategic bombing service, a japanese military professionals and some diplomats knew they could not defeat america in the context of industrial might but their sense of personal and national honor was such they thought was preferable to fight and lose them not to fight so it is a
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huge cultural clash and really i don't think that any side fully understood the other. >> i'm not clear that we understand each other. i'm moving to japan again in about three weeks and i will be interested to see in the like of the various terrible things that have happened romans and the restoration pull out of their work and it did. you know, i've often wondered what did the people in the ira
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and a the paramilitary, what did they do in the negotiation? you're whole life has been about war. you're entire life has been met and suddenly it's not. i think there was a big problem in japan is that of a sudden you have the centuries-old tradition, and what were they going to do with it? some of them hurt me why they thought they had to vote the united states in the pacific. to you have -- what's the reason for it? >> i remember in mid-1990, 91 operation desert storm one of the correspondence actually said was the first time anybody had gone to war overall which is pretty amazing statement it was all about oil and the united states had embargoed the wheel shipments as a way of protesting and hoping to modify japanese actions in china and elsewhere
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and it got down to the point the clock was running. the geostrategic clock and japan had something like 18 months of the reserves after which they would begin to conduct operations and the decision was made in dhaka by the wealth and try to hold it after. >> 79 years and i finally learned that. >> the embargo japan would have been fine but they went with roosevelt and embargoed also. >> really when you think about the cost of the cruise ship that happened, incredible. 100 years. within two months and the same
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issues are involved. were there enough lifeboats? [laughter] there's a very interesting book out, i'm not recommending the you read it necessarily but there was something the you sort of learn after. some at least one of the first class lifeboats from the titanic launched and the people in it for a small number of first-class passengers including an english aristocrat and they refused to pick up anybody in the water and so a lot of people died. looking at the cost it isn't necessarily that much different. i guess maybe the founding of the writing is that nothing really changes were. i did want to say it is a best seller, as far as i know it is a
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best seller and it's already been repented and published in the first edition. >> i didn't know that. [applause] scirica news here -- breaking news here. i'm sure he found a surprise buy ultimately who wins and who loses you can't fight -- we can't sell books without books. in any case, thank you so much. we've had a long friendship together, and it's a pleasure to see all of you out into center celebrate. i'm going to ask him to go to that little table over there and sit. i'm going to ask all of you to be kind enough to follow up your chair and clean them up against the wall and visit with him. thank you all for coming today. >> for more information, visit the web site, btillman.com. what are you reading this
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summer? book tv wants to know. >> i'm with nbc news and i have five books that are in my queue if you will. i read about 60% of the time on my ipad and about 40% of the ty will hard copy. let me start with my nonfiction this summer. during the last week over winter break i read a book on fdr and the election of 1944. there's another one that just came out by stanley weintraub called final victory, on the same campaign. why it may be interesting to political junkies in today's time period. you read about thomas dewey and you see a lot of mitt romney, the good, that come all of the issues of the war talk that you see about mitt romney. you see a pop-up window you read these books about thomas dewey. particularly the campaign of 44.
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forget the campaign of 48, but the campaign of 44 as well. i am also finally getting to and other nonfiction books that i've been meaning to read for some time about a friend of mine by don heck. he wrote a book called pinched and was about the great recession, and it is chronicling sort of how this culturally changing us not just in the pocketbooks but what sort of long-term change is taking place around the country, talking about a white male under class is one of his thesis, but it's a good way coming and i am thinking about making the required reading for all of my folks. i.t. get free politician not to read this and understand because i think it explains as well as anybody the chronic pessimism that's out there. you see it on all of the polls but it is something -- why is it we are so pessimistic about the future?
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we don't have this optimism anymore. we talk about the importance of optimism for the candidates that there is just a pessimism and it's not necessarily translating and benefits frankly one party over the other. it's been sitting liturgist sitting on us -- sitting on the us. we've gone through this as a country and it takes time to get out of these things. that is why i think penchant is a book we ought to read. fiction i'm doing of course reading daniel silvers new book married to a colleague of mine got to love this book they are all good fallen angels. that's why i've been plotting for the fans that have taken time but i haven't given up on it. the stephen king book 112263. another fictional history book obviously using the kennedy assassination plodding through